30 07, 2021

May a Son Sit on the Women’s Side of the Mechitzah With His Mother Who Has Dementia?

July 30th, 2021|Orach Chayim, Tefillah|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

A man would like to sit with his mother in the women’s section because she has severe dementia and cannot sit in shul on her own. A woman from shul can volunteer to sit with her, but the comfort of her son next to her is a significant difference. Can he sit next to his mother?

A man with a physically debilitating sickness has a female aide (not Jewish) who needs to sit next to him in the men’s section. Can she sit next to him?

ANSWER

Many do not view the purpose of a mechitzah as to ensure that there is a barrier between men […]

18 07, 2021

Havdalah on Tisha b’Av By Someone Not Fasting

July 18th, 2021|Kiddush, Seudah, Havdalah, Orach Chayim, Tisha B'Av - 3 Weeks|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

If someone is not fasting for Tisha b’Av, should they make full Havdalah after Shabbat?

ANSWER

If a person is going to eat on Tisha b’Av because they are sick, they should make Havdalah before they eat, whether that be at night or the next day. It is a full Havdalah, except we don’t do besamim and we don’t say the pesukim before. So it is only the cup, borei me’orei (if making Havdalah Saturday night), and HaMavdil.

שערי תשובה סימן תקנו

עבה”ט וכ’ בר”י בשם תשו’ כנה”ג ח”ב חולה שאוכל בט”ב יבדיל תיכף במוצאי שבת והב”י שם דעתו נוטה קצת שיכול […]

18 07, 2021

Washing off Makeup on Tisha b’Av

July 18th, 2021|Orach Chayim, Tisha B'Av - 3 Weeks|

QUESTION

New York, NY

When Tisha B’Av falls on Sunday, is a person allowed to remove makeup that she was wearing on Shabbat on Tisha B’Av using a wipe?

ANSWER

If the makeup is smudgy, etc., then it is permissible as per Shulchan Arukh OC 554:9. If she just wants to remove it, it is hard to permit. A permissible way would be to wipe it off as much as possible with a dry tissue, and then the rest looks pretty smudgy and dirty, and that can use a wipe.

Finally, it’s not obvious to me that the small amount of moisture on the wipe […]

13 07, 2021

Kiddush Without Mezonot

July 13th, 2021|Kiddush, Seudah, Havdalah, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

Midwest, USA

Shalom Rabbi Linzer, if one is making kiddush on Shabbat morning in shul after Shacharit for the kehilah but there will be no kiddush food afterwards, should kiddush still be made? If so, does the one making kiddush need to eat mezonot or can they just drink, make a berakhah acharonah and then go home and make/hear kiddush again over a proper meal? Our shul hasn’t yet brought kiddush back and someone suggested that the rabbi  make kiddush in the sanctuary for those who won’t hear it at home and as a morale booster as we still slowly return to regular […]

12 07, 2021

Saying The Bedtime Shema If Going to Sleep in The Morning

July 12th, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei|

QUESTION

Midwest, USA

Shalom Rav, I have a congregant who is taking on a night job where he will work all night, arrive home after sunrise and then go to bed. Since his now kavua “bedtime” is in the morning he asked if he could still say the bedtime Shema. The Biur Halakha on Shulchan Arukh OC 239:1 seems to clearly say one should not, at least not the berakhah, and the Arukh HaShulchan mentions that the point of the Shema al HaMitah is to protect from demons, which would only be a night problem. Does the fact that his bedtime is officially during the day […]

18 06, 2021

Birkat Eirusin When the Bride or Groom Cannot Drink Wine

June 18th, 2021|Berakhot, Even HaEzer, Kiddushin and Ketubah, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

South Central, USA

I’m officiating at a wedding, and the kallah said she can’t drink wine or grape juice. The only liquids she can drink are water or tea. What would you recommend they say the berakhot over at the wedding? Thank you.

ANSWER

A couple of possibilities:

1. The chatan can drink without the kallah doing so.

2. You don’t need wine really – Shulchan Arukh EH 62:1 ואם אין יין מצוי מברך על השכר.

3. Bedieved you don’t need a kos at all. See Beit Shmuel there who writes ואם אין שכר מצוי יברך בלא כוס.

I think if you don’t want to do #1, she should do tea, which […]

13 06, 2021

May an Aveil Purchase a New Car? Can someone do so during the 3 weeks?

June 13th, 2021|Aveilut, Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Tisha B'Av - 3 Weeks, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

A man in aveilut needs a new car. The old car the family has used is breaking down more and more frequently. Is this something that should wait another 10-12 months? What if his wife purchased the car and recites שהחינו? Would the halakha be the same during the 3 weeks?

ANSWER

The practice of not saying shehecheyanu is recorded in the case of the 3 weeks (Shulchan Arukh OC 551:17). Poskim explicitly state that this does not apply to a mourner. See Magen Avraham OC 551:42 and Mishnah Berurah 551:98. The reason is that the problem with shehecheyanu is not the simchah per se, […]

11 06, 2021

Mechitzah on the Bimah

June 11th, 2021|Orach Chayim, Tefillah|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

Kevod HaRav,  we are building a new bimah/platform and we would like to be able to divide it in half so that there is the possibility of having space for men and women during davening. Would a clear glass divider suffice for this or must the glass be opaque? It would only be used during keriyat HaTorah when a woman would ascend the bimah to read a MiShebeirakh.

ANSWER

A clear divider should be fine if the basic purpose is, as Rav Moshe would have it, to have single sex spaces and is not about הרהורים (Iggrot Moshe OC 1: 39). Rav […]

1 06, 2021

COVID Vaccine for a Child on Shabbat

June 1st, 2021|Choleh, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

New York, NY

May we get a child vaccinated for  COVID on Shabbat? We would not have to drive, only walk up to the vaccination site and answer questions. Drawing blood is a concern, as is uvda dechol. It also may be possible, although less convenient, to get the vaccine within a few days at a different site

ANSWER

I see no problem with it. Refuah is permissible in cases of choleh kol haguf. If one considers that a person who needs preventative medicine is not a choleh, then this also isn’t refuah (see Mishnah Berurah 328:130 who cites a machloket haposkim whether something done for health when the […]

1 06, 2021

Is There a Time Limit to Say Birkat HaGomeil?

June 1st, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

Washington, D.C.

Regarding Birkat HaGomeil, the Shulchan Arukh (OC 219:6) suggests you can still say the berakhah after three days have passed. Arukh HaShulchan seems to suggest that someone can say the berakhah after three days as long as they haven’t forgotten the incident. A congregant heard me give over this halakha and asked if he could make the berakhah 50 years later! He still remembers the event clearly as it was very traumatic. Is this an appropriate interpretation of the Shulchan Aruch and Arukh HaShulchan or is it taking things too far? Thank you.

ANSWER

The simple language of the Shulchan Arukh is indeed that there is no time limit. Arukh HaShulchan’s […]

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